DA stands behind Caster Semenya

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes the shocking announcement by the Court of Arbitration for Sport that Caster Semenya has lost her legal case against the athletics governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

This means if Semenya wants to keep running on the international stage, she must take medicines which will reduce her testosterone levels.

This IAAF policy is wholly discriminatory to female athletes who happen to have higher testosterone levels in their bodies and no doubt sets an awful precedence for the sport.

The DA stands in full support of the remarkably talented Semenya; she undoubtedly is a talented young woman who has made South Africa proud. She has encouraged other young female athletes to participate in sports and to believe in themselves. She has flown our flag high and has consistently raised the bar in the global sports fraternity, despite opposition that has been levelled against her natural abilities.

Caster Semenya deserves the right to compete just like all other female athletes before her.

The DA calls on the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the SA government to provide greater support Caster Semenya, and use all available processes to oppose this decision and fight for her right to compete on the international stage without having to take any drugs to suppress what she was naturally born to do- being a national champion.

Cyril and the ANC are coming for your pensions!

Fellow South Africans,

Today, we join millions of people around the world to celebrate International Workers’ Day.

We celebrate the victory of the hard-won fight for fair labour practices and employment standards, and honour the role organised labour played in the struggle for democracy in our own nation.

This public holiday was proclaimed in 1994 at the dawn of our democracy, to celebrate our freedom from an oppressive regime; to celebrate the power of the people.

But after twenty-five years of ANC rule, our freedoms are once again under threat. Ten million of us are without work at all. And those of us who do work are losing more and more of our income to the greedy and corrupt ANC that is looking for more and more ways to feed its connected crooks and cronies.

With every passing month, our wages and earnings buy us less as we pay more for electricity, fuel and VAT to feed ANC corruption and to cover for ANC failure at Eskom, SAA, PRASA and other state-owned enterprises. The latest increase came just last night, when the price of petrol went up by another 54c per litre.

But the state-owned enterprises are so chronically corrupt and bankrupt that they need still more of our money. And so, in the ANC’s manifesto, they speak about “prescribed assets”.

I want to send this stern warning to South Africans – the ANC is coming for your pensions! What the ANC and Cyril Ramaphosa mean by “prescribed assets” is that they are planning to force us to invest our pensions in these failing state-owned enterprises. Due to their own failures in government, they are now looking to make laws that force the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) and private pension funds to use our pensions to keep these entities going, so that they can mask their failures and keep stealing. This is the policy of Cyril Ramaphosa and his ANC.

The ANC have stolen approximately R1.2 trillion through corruption and will not stop now. They have shown that there is nothing they won’t stoop to.

Fellow South Africans, this Workers Day comes just one week before the most important election since 1994. So, this Workers Day, you need to think about how you can protect your financial freedom and your future going forwards.

And I am here to put it to you straight that the party that will best protect your financial freedom is the DA. The DA will stand with workers and we will fight this. We will fight the PIC Bill to protect the hard-earned pensions of South Africa’s workers. We will fight in Parliament for financial freedom and protection of your hard-earned pension savings.

And I stand before you not just with promises of financial freedom, but with hard proof. The Western Cape has a long way to go, but just look at the progress we have made here in the past ten years.

After a decade of DA government, the Western Cape has the lowest broad unemployment rate in South Africa. At 23%, it is 14 percentage points lower than the SA average of 37%. There are 508 000 more jobs here now than there were 10 years ago.

Even after 3 years of bad drought, the agricultural and agri-processing sector grew here by 10 000 jobs, thanks in large part to the satellite technology that the provincial government put in place to assist farmers use water more efficiently. No surprise that we have the lowest rural unemployment rate, at just 15%. Or that we lead in land reform, with a 72% success rate for land reform farms here.

We’ve grown tourism jobs through our Air Access strategy which has added 14 new routes and 750 000 international inbound seats to this province, injecting R6 billion in tourist spending into our provincial economy.

In fact, on every single measurement of good provincial governance, the DA-run Western Cape comes first. We run the cleanest government, which simply means that we spend public money on the public. The Western Cape achieved 83% clean audits in the most recent financial year – well ahead of Gauteng at 52%.

That’s why last week, it came as no surprise when Good Governance Africa reported that the Western Cape is home to 12 of the 20 best-run municipalities in SA, and that the Western Cape is SA’s best-run province.

The Western Cape has the best basic education results, keeping the largest proportion of children at school until matric and achieving the highest real matric pass rates. We’ve built 132 new schools and over 2000 classrooms in the past decade and rolled out broadband internet to 1200 schools.

At 90% we have the highest proportion of the population within 30 minutes of a primary healthcare clinic and we’ve built two major new district hospitals – in Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain. So, it’s not surprising that life expectancy is the highest in the country, increasing by 7 years since we took office.

Where the DA has provincial control – education and healthcare – we are streaks ahead of ANC governments. Now DA Premier Candidate Alan Winde wants to get provincial control of police and railways too.

Policing and trains will be much better run when they are controlled at a provincial level. When service delivery is closer to the people it becomes more responsive to their needs. Police and trains will never be efficient when they are run from Pretoria. When we fix policing and public transport, we will see even more jobs being created in this province, and that means more financial freedom to the people of the Western Cape.

If the DA is elected into National Government, we will introduce a Jobs Act to serve as an economic stimulus shock. We want to make doing business as easy as possible for companies that want to invest and create jobs in South Africa. South Africans are incredibly innovative and entrepreneurial, and that must be encouraged. This is what real freedom is all about.

In democratic South Africa, the fight for freedom happens at the ballot box. And today I put it to you that the best way to protect your freedom is to vote DA on 8 May. The DA’s vision is to build One SA for All, a country in which everyone’s rights are protected, as set out in our Constitution.

Every single vote is going to count if we are going to keep the Western Cape blue. Every vote counts to keep corruption out. Every vote counts to save our pensions from being stolen. So, on 8 May, go and vote DA and take your friends and family with you!

DA will not waiver on its commitment to honouring Madiba’s vision

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes comments by Mandla Mandela related to the DA’s latest election billboard which calls on South African to honour Nelson Mandela’s vision to build One South Africa for All, by voting DA.

As a party, we are inspired by the legacy of Nelson Mandela and are constantly emboldened by what he stood for – a nonracial, democratic South Africa underpinned by values of freedom, fairness, opportunity and diversity.

While it is undeniable that Mandela was an ANC icon, he was also the father of the Nation who worked tirelessly to make our country a better place and left behind a conciliatory legacy and devotion to democracy.

Nelson Mandela started a project of nation building underpinned by non-racialism which has been abandoned by the current ANC. The DA is the only political party that still espouses the values of reconciliation and building One South Africa for All, as envisioned by Madiba

We do not agree with the Mandla Mandela’s claim that the use of Nelson Mandela’s name is opportunistic. We firmly believe that ordinary South Africans need to be reminded of the democratic principle that our forebears embraced, especially at this time when there are populist forces that seek to divide us along racial lines.

There are parties who mobilise around race such as Mandla Mandela’s ANC. The DA is not such a party. We are the most diverse political party in South Africa, comprising people of all ages and races.

This reflects our commitment to building one South Africa for all and our conviction that we as South Africans are better together.

The DA will not waiver on our commitment to honour Nelson Mandela by continuing where he left off in building One South Africa for all.

The “People’s Contract”: Give the DA a chance to serve you

The following remarks were made today by Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the signing of the “People’s Contract” in Madibeng, North West. 

Today, the leadership of the DA enters into a contract with the people of South Africa. Our “People’s Contract” is a pledge to run accountable governments that South Africans can rely on. We are asking the people of South Africa to give the DA a chance to honour this contract. After five years, if we have not brought the positive change we commit to in this contract, then people should vote us out. That’s what democracy is all about.

In our “People’s Contract”, we make five specific commitments to the people of South Africa. These are the commitments we will uphold should you elect a DA government.

One. We commit to putting all our efforts into ensuring that there can be a good job in every home. We’ll put a job in every home by making sure government jobs are distributed fairly – not like now, to party members and their friends. We’ll put a job in every home by making it easier for people to start businesses and create jobs – not like now, where no one wants to start a business because it is so hard to do so. Passing our “Jobs Act” is the first step towards this goal.

We’ll put a job in every home by securing our borders – our second commitment to you – so that immigration results in investment that helps create jobs. And we’ll put a job in every home by spending public money on things which grow jobs, like ensuring reliable electricity, transport and communications infrastructure – not like now, where party members and friends are eating public money.

This municipality in Madibeng is one of the municipalities that has suffered most from corruption. The current ANC government is responsible for R562 million of corruption in the 2016/17 financial year. They “invested” R30 million of public money with VBS Mutual Bank without a council resolution. Mayor Jostina Mothibe is taking no responsibility for that. And she had no problem with the municipality spending R100 000 a month renting a car for her. So it’s up to you as voters to let her and her corrupt party know this is unacceptable.

SA will never have a job in every home until voters start punishing this kind of corruption. That’s why our third commitment to you is to remove corruption by holding corrupt officials to account. Officials found guilty of corruption will receive a 15-year jail sentence. The only way to stop corruption is if people suffer the consequences. We cannot reward the ANC’s corruption with more votes for them. They must be removed, not rewarded.

When corrupt officials don’t suffer the consequences, the people suffer instead. This is why there is almost no service delivery here in Madibeng. It’s why some residents have gone without water for months on end. It’s why the water quality in Madibeng – when people get water at all – is so bad that some people have become sick and even died. It’s why the Madibeng’s electronic services were shut down last year. Madigeng can’t pay its bills because the money has been stolen.

The DA’s fourth commitment to you is that we will speed up the delivery of quality services – clean, reliable water supply, housing, healthcare and education. A DA government is there to serve instead of steal. This is not an empty promise. Good Governance Africa’s annual Government Performance Index has just been released and it shows that 15 out of the top 20 best performing municipalities in South Africa are run by the DA – either alone or in coalition. And DA-run Cape Town is rated the best run metro in SA.

If you elect us to serve nationally, we will honour the fifth commitment in our “People’s Contract”, which is to create a professional and honest police force that can keep our communities safe. Under the ANC, people need protection from the police. Just up the road from here is a township, Marikana, which serves as a stark reminder of just how much the ANC has turned on its people.

In 2012, the ANC government and ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa, physically turned on its people, killing thirty four and leaving many others wounded. Now it is time for the people of South Africa to turn on the ANC and punish them for their corruption, for the unemployment all around us, for the slow service delivery, and for Marikana. It is only when leaders are punished for wrongdoing that they will correct, and start to serve the people again.

That’s why I say, give the DA a chance to serve you. We will not let you down!

Ramaphosa se uitsprake oor Afrikaans en grond is misplaas en beledigend

President Cyril Ramaphosa se uitsprake gisteraand toe hy “Pretoriase meningsvormers” toegespreek het, verdien kommentaar.

Om te sê “Afrikaanssprekendes voel dieselfde seer oor hul taal as wat die meerderheid Suid-Afrikaners oor grond voel” is geheel en al onvanpas en misplaas.

Die DA is heeltemal verbind to grondhervorming. Waaraan ons nie verbind is nie, is grondonteiening sonder vergoeding, soos wat die ANC en die EFF voorstel.

Die president kan soveel mooi broodjies bak as wat hy wil, die feit bly staan beide die ANC en die EFF wil die grondwet verander om onteiening sonder vergoeding moontlik te maak. En hoe meer ons ekonomie agteruitgaan, hoe meer word minderheidsgroepe in ons land deur die ANC geteieken, nie net deur die dreigement van onteiening sonder vergoeding nie, maar ook die gedwonge investering van pensioenfondse in sukkelende staatsbeheerde instellings.

Vir die president om hierdie beplande optrede deur die ANC-regering te probeer goedpraat deur dit te vergelyk met Afrikaanssprekendes se passie vir hul taal, is beledigend om die minste te sê.

Afrikaanssprekendes en alle ander Suid-Afrikaners  het die reg om die taal van hul keuse te gebruik en aan die kulturele lewe van hul keuse deel te neem, soos vervat in die Handves van Menseregte, in artikel 30 van die Grondwet. Dit is eerder tyd dat die ANC hierdie regte, verskans in ons Grondwet, begin respekteer en afdwing en ophou om doelbewus ‘n stigma aan die taal te probeer koppel.

Die DA respekteer die meerderheid Suid-Afrikaners se passie vir die grondkwessie en net soos dit nie nodig is om te karring aan die grondwet om Afrikaanssprekendes se taalregte te beskerm nie, so is dit ook nie nodig om die gondwet the wysig om grondhervorming te bewerkstellig nie.

Die DA glo in grondhervorming wat werk skep en wat eienaarskap en die ekonomie uitbrei en versterk. Dit vereis nie onteiening of staatseienaarskap nie. Dit vereis, soos in die geval van Afrikaans, bloot ‘n regering wat in staat is om bestaande bepalings in ons Grondwet af te dwing.

President Ramaphosa, nes sy “baas” Ace Magashule, moet ophou vry na wit Suid-Afrikaners met onrealistiese en ondeurdagte beloftes en skyn-besorgdheid.

Minderheidsgroepe in Suid-Afrika is moeg daarvan om politieke speelballe te wees vir die ANC-regering wat die laaste 25 jare meestal hul grondwetlike regte ondermyn het en hierdie land so te sê tot die afgrond gedwing het.

Blitsbesoeke in Stellenbosch en Pretoria, waar wilde vergelykings getref word en leë beloftes gemaak word, gaan nie wit Suid-Afrikaners oorhaal om eensklaps op 8 Mei te stem vir die party van korrupsie, wanbetuur en staatskaping nie – Cyril Ramaphosa of te not.

Fuel increase is ANC’s way of taxing SA into poverty

The 54 cent fuel price increase will once again prove that the failing ANC government has no plan to develop and grow our economy – the extent of their policy and plans remains firmly based on increasing the prices of items South Africans are barely able to afford already.

This is no new dawn – this is the same old ANC who remains resolute in having South Africans pay for their 25 years of complete failures in government.

Although the failing ANC would have the public believe that fuel price increases are solely the result of international and global trends, the reality is that these unforgiving price hikes are mainly due to a decades of ANC corruption, mismanagement and looting, which has precipitated fuel tax increases to cover government revenue shortfalls.

The ANC government is incapable of generating sustainable plans to fix our economy and create jobs, instead it attempts to tax its people into further poverty.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will not sit by idly and watch as South Africans are burdened by the ANC’s failures. Today and tomorrow, the DA has mobilized across the country to demonstrate against these increases. South Africans can no longer be punished for the ANC’s failures. The DA will make the choice to South Africans clear. It is time to vote out the ANC that is oppressing our people by plunging the country into poverty.

Now is the time to show this corrupt government that the citizens of this country will not accept yet another senseless increase in fuel prices.

This fuel hike is proof that life will become progressively worse under the ANC, if they are given another 5 years to govern. The DA has a plan to grow our economy sustainably, without having to unbearably increase the cost of living for South Africans. It is time to punish the ANC for their senseless price hikes across the board, come 08 May, we urge citizens to choose a party that will build One South Africa for All, without having to loot all the cents from their pockets.

Honour the ANC as a monument, but vote DA as a government

TMy fellow South Africans,

On the eve of this historic election, each of us stands before a choice that will either take our country forward towards a bright future, or drag us even further back towards poverty, unemployment and despair.

We must choose between a forward-looking DA government with a bold plan to turn our country around, or another five years under this ANC government with its crippling corruption and its policies from a time the rest of the world has already forgotten.

That is our choice on 8 May.

For many of you this will mean voting for a different party next week. It will mean turning your back on the party of the struggle – the party of your parents – and choosing a government that you might not have thought possible a few years ago.

I know this is not easy. For many of you, the ANC is like family – it’s almost part of your identity. But that party doesn’t exist any longer. The ANC that was formed right here in this little church more than a century ago, and that spearheaded our struggle for liberation, has long since been replaced by a greedy and corrupt gang that is slowly bleeding our country dry.

On Wednesday the fuel price will go up by another 54c per litre. Well over a third of that is made up of taxes. Consider that back in 1993 the ANC waged a campaign against what they called the “ill-considered and uncaring decision” to increase the petrol price. They said the government of the day did not “have the interests of the majority of South Africans, who are poor and struggling desperately to make ends meet, at heart.”

Yet they have consistently increased the fuel price, and particularly the tax component over the past decade. The ANC of today does not care about poor South Africans. They only care about funding their own corruption and mismanagement.

Take a look at those faces that you can just about make out on these cooling towers behind us. Those were the leaders of a very different ANC. And there is a bitter significance to the sorry state of this artwork. Just as those murals have been allowed by the ANC to fade and peel, leaving behind just traces of these icons, the party itself has been reduced to something barely recognisable from its former self.

I’m sure it must have been with great pride that this artwork was placed up there. These leaders were a source of inspiration not only to the party, but to many South Africans who weren’t necessarily committed to the ANC.

But ask yourself, which of the ANC leaders of today would be worthy of a ten-storey mural like this? If the ANC had to honour its recent generation on these towers, would we see the face of David Mabuza up there? Would we see Ace Magashule? Jacob Zuma? Gwede Mantashe? Jessie Duarte?

I think we all know the answer to these questions. Even the ANC itself would be too embarrassed to put their faces up there.

But what about Cyril Ramaphosa, I hear you say. I know some of you might feel that at least he is worthy of a memorial. But let’s talk for a moment about President Cyril Ramaphosa. Because there are some things about him that people seem to be uncomfortable discussing.

As much as he’d like you to believe he just arrived on the scene a year ago and had nothing to do with the plunder of our state or its ongoing cover-up, there are facts that tell a very different story.

It is a fact that Cyrirl Ramaphosa was Deputy President throughout the entire last term of the Zuma administration. During this time he voted, time and time again, to shield Zuma from accountability and keep him installed as President. Only when it was clear that Zuma was heading for a fall, did he speak out against him for the first time ever.

It is a fact that, despite all evidence of the Arms Deal corruption, the Nkandla corruption, the Bosasa corruption and the Gupta corruption being out there in the open and known to all, Cyril Ramaphosa did nothing about this. His claim that he was unaware of it all is laughable.

It is a fact that Cyril Ramaphosa, in his role as Lonmin board member, urged police to take “concomitant action” against the striking mine workers at Marikana, calling their actions “dastardly criminal”. The next day, police shot and killed 34 of these workers.

It is a fact that Cyril Ramaphosa was appointed Chair of the Interministerial Committee on State-Owned Enterprises at the start of his term as Deputy President in 2014. It was literally his job to oversee the turnaround of our struggling SOEs like Eskom and Prasa. How did he then miss the brazen looting that took place there over the years that followed? And how can he take no responsibility at all for their complete financial and operational collapse during this time?

And it is a fact that Cyril Ramaphosa, along with dozens of his senior party members, received money and gifts from the corrupt Bosasa, and that his son continued to receive money from them throughout his term as president.

Those are facts.

The ANC would like you to believe the perception about Ramaphosa being an honest and accountable president, because that perception is all this once-great party has left. But we can’t deal with perceptions. We must only deal with facts. And the facts show that Cyril Ramaphosa is no different to the rest of the corrupt party he presides over.

Yesterday’s Sunday Times front page told us that 83 people, many of whom are ANC politicians and officials, are being probed by SARS for their Bosasa bribes and the tax they are liable for. It mentioned Nomvula Mokonyane, Hlaudi Mostsoeneng, Nomgcobo Jiba, Dudu Myeni and the Jacob Zuma Foundation, among others. But two names were conspicuous in their absence from this news report: President Cyril Ramaphosa and his son, Andile Ramaphosa.

We all know they received money from Bosasa. If the rest of the R75 million that Bosasa paid to ANC politicians each year were bribes, as was revealed in the Zondo Commission testimony, then it would be crazy to think that the money paid to these two was something else.

I will be writing to SARS to establish whether both Ramaphosa senior and junior are part of this 83-person investigation. If necessary, I will submit a PAIA application for this information. And if their names are not yet on the list, I will request that the SARS investigation be extended to include them as well.

One law for all South Africans. That’s what we signed up for in our Constitution. Not one law for the President and his cronies, and another law for the faction of his political enemies.

If we are to forge a new future for our country, then it is crucial that we do it right. This means honouring our Constitution. It means respecting the Rule of Law. And it means holding the President to the same standards, if not higher, than everyone else.

Fellow South Africans, 8 May is our one chance to get it right. Let us go out there and vote for the future by electing a government of the future.

Let us remember the ANC and the role they played in our country’s history. Let us preserve sites like this one here at the Wesleyan Church, and let us restore and preserve murals such as these ones on the towers here. Because they are our history, and this is important.

But that’s all this ANC is now – history. Over the course of their 25 years in office, they have gone from Movement to Monument.

Next week we must put them in the museum, and we must put the DA in government. That would be the very best thing we all could do for our country.

That would allow us to finally start building the country we all want to live in – One South Africa for all.

DA-run Western Cape declares formal dispute with Police Minister

In my capacity as Western Cape MEC of Community Safety, and as authorised by the Western Cape Cabinet, I have written to the national Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, to notify him that the Western Cape Government is declaring a formal intergovernmental dispute with the Police Minister.

It is now six months since the Western Cape Government first wrote to the Minister with a list of urgent Policing Needs and Priorities for the province, which the Minister has ignored. He has failed to respond to our urgent requests, even after a follow-up letter in December, and hand delivering the letter to President Ramaphosa in person in Parliament in February. The Minister of Police is obliged by the Constitution to consult and take account of the specific needs of our province when determining policy. By ignoring these needs and priorities, Minister Cele is violating the Constitution.

Our province urgently needs more police officers. Western Cape police is dramatically under resourced compared to other provinces: while one officer must protect 375 people on average nationally, in the Western Cape, the ratio is 1:509. It makes me angry that the national ANC government gives our province fewer resources to fight crime than other provinces. The Western Cape needs urgent additional personnel to enable the Western Cape Provincial Commissioner to take steps to address gang violence and the appalling murder rate, as well as to protect learners and schools, public transport and state infrastructure such as ambulances.

The Western Cape Provincial Police Ombudman’s investigation into South African Police Service (SAPS) reservists concluded that “there has been a significant decrease in the number of active police reservists between 2008 and 2018” and that “[t]he decrease in the total number of reservists available over weekends, is directly impacting on the efficiency of the SAPS in the Western Cape to reduce the levels of reporting crime”. As a result of this, and to assist SAPS, we offered to give SAPS R5 million to pay for police reservists to be deployed in the province, to act as a force multiplier and reduce crime.

The Western Cape further offered provincial government volunteers to take on administrative duties at SAPS stations, such as Commissioners of Oaths, so that more police officers are freed up to fight crime on patrol. 

But the Minister has ignored us, and has not responded to our province’s urgent policing needs and priorities and did not respond to these offers.

The Western Cape Government is left with no choice other than to declare formally that the Minister has:

  1. Failed or refused to respond to the communication of the policing needs and priorities of this province as communicated to him in October 2018;
  2. Failed or refused to address the policing needs and priorities of this province in determining National Policing Policy; and
  3. Failed to respond to the proactive offers of assistance and funding made by the Western Cape Government.

Minister Cele is now obliged by Section 41 of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act 13 of 2005 to meet urgently with the Western Cape Government to respond to and address these failures.

Crime is a responsibility of the national government and the SAPS is controlled from the government right here in Pretoria. When we ask for more police officers, the ANC government looks away, and when we ask for the army to be sent in to defeat gangs, the ANC government says no. We are sick of the national government refusing to hear our cry for help.

This is why I will fight for policing to be controlled by the province and not from Pretoria and Luthuli House. The DA will always put the welfare of our people first, and will never compromise their safety for political gain. While the national government, which is mandated by the Constitution to protect all South Africans, continues to fail in its duty to keep us safe, the Western Cape Government is not standing idly by. We are fighting for better policing, and we have established extensive programmes to bolster neighbourhood watches and Community Police Forums in partnership with volunteers to help increase safety in our communities. I urge all voters to support the DA at the polls on 8 May as the only party with a plan, and the only party that cares about the safety of the residents of the Western Cape

BOKAMOSO | Tragic KZN floods are a call to action on climate breakdown

The tragic floods that have taken the lives of 85 people in KZN should not be seen in isolation. Together with the drought in the Western Cape, the wildfires on the Garden Route and the intense tropical cyclones Idai and Kenneth that have hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, they are part of a bigger picture of climate breakdown.

They are red flags we ignore at our peril, dots we can’t afford not to join. It is no longer disputed that the growing intensity and frequency of these “natural” disasters is due to the increased levels of carbon in our atmosphere due to our over-reliance on fossil fuels. The resulting greenhouse effect is growing ever stronger, the effects ever more deadly.

The world’s leading climate scientists have warned we humans have only twelve years to avoid catastrophe. We have just a dozen years to limit average global warming to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which further warming will trigger runaway climate breakdown from which there will be no coming back.

Urgent and unprecedented changes are needed at the systemic level. This is our only choice: change our systems or change our climate. Governments must take the lead in driving the system changes we need – both to minimise climate disruption and to build resilience into our water, energy, food and infrastructure systems.

SA has a massive carbon footprint relative to the size of our economy. This is largely because our electricity system is so reliant on coal, but also because our transport and other systems are so inefficient. There is much we can do to reduce it.

First and foremost, South Africa needs to rapidly move away from our current monopoly energy supply system to a market-based system. Independent power producers including small-scale producers such as households and businesses with solar panels must be allowed to feed power into the grid. And municipalities must be able to purchase power directly from producers.

The DA-run Western Cape government has enabled small-scale producers to generate their own electricity with solar panels in 22 municipalities, and in 18 of those, excess electricity can be sold back to the grid.

South Africa is blessed with much sunshine and good wind conditions, while the cost of renewable generation is plummeting. A diversity of power suppliers and sources would not just make our electricity cheaper and more reliable, but also cleaner, as more producers of renewable energy come on board.

Our transport system also needs a major overhaul. Rail transport is much more energy efficient than road transport and should play a far greater role in moving both passengers and freight. That means appointing honest, capable individuals to head up PRASA, Transnet and Metrorail services, as well as devolving more power to individual metros so that rail systems can be integrated with bus systems on a “single-ticket” basis.

In Cape Town alone, for example, the number of people using rail has dropped from 650 000 to just 250 000 in the past five years, with the result that road congestion and carbon emissions have soared.

Our packaging system must also be overhauled to drastically reduce the amount of carbon emitted. For example, compulsory refunds for glass and plastic containers would ensure that users return them for re-use or recycling.

At the same time as moving to less carbon-intensive systems, we must anticipate climate disruption and disaster and build the necessary resilience into our systems.

Despite three years of drought in the Western Cape, agriculture and agri-processing still managed to create 10 000 jobs since 2015. The provincial government’s online platform, Fruitlook, uses satellites to help farmers to optimise water usage by telling them exactly how much water their crops need. We have mapped 5.7 million hectares of farmland, including the entire fruit-producing area of 220 000 ha. Farmers have reported water savings of up to 30% by using Fruitlook.

We have also introduced a method of “Conservation Agriculture” for wheat farmers, with a 98% take-up in this sector. Wheat production is higher across the board despite the drought.

In both climate mitigation and adaptation, the opportunities to innovate, save, and restore are limitless, exciting and urgent. The imperative to act is not just economic and social but moral, because communities and countries with the lowest carbon emissions pay the highest prices.

Globally and locally, the impact of climate breakdown will be suffered unequally. As is so often the case, the poorest will suffer the most. Poor countries at the tropics will suffer the most severe effects of crop losses, destruction and displacement from changed climate and extreme weather events. Within countries, the poor will suffer more than the rich, who have more buffer against rising food prices and other impacts. Changing our systems so that we live sustainably on this planet will bring a better and fairer world. In the short time left to us to avoid runaway climate catastrophe, this change can only be brought about by government. On 8 May, a vote for the DA will be a vote for cleaner, more resilient systems

Ramaphosa’s Freedom Day celebrations are a slap in the face of the people of Makhanda

On this day 25 years ago thousands of South Africans from Makhanda stood in long queues, ready to cast their first democratic vote. They hoped for a new beginning that will give birth to a better life for all. This has yet to materialize.

Today, the Makhanda Municipality has been without access to water for months. This is the reality for many towns and cities across the Eastern Cape and the country after 25 years of ANC governance. The celebration of Freedom Day in this part of the Eastern Cape when millions of South Africans are yet to experience this freedom, is nothing more than a slap in the face for our people. The people of Makhanda like most South Africans are tired of all the talk, with little delivery and empty promises of the ANC government.

The people of Makhanda could have never imagined that they would be betrayed and forgotten by the same party they once loved and trusted. It is hard to comprehend that twenty five years later the  people of Makhanda are still living without the basic services they were promised all those years ago.

In January, then new mayor, Mzukisi Mpahlwa, promised better service delivery to the residents. Yet, water outages, power blackouts, litter-strewn streets and sewage trickling into people’s homes continue to be the lived experience for the residents of Makhanda.

The People of Makhanda are not fooled by the last ditch efforts by the same mayor to clean up the streets where Ramaphosa’s multimillion rand, window-tinted, blue light convey sped through so as to hide their real shame of non-service delivery in the area. That is why they threw feces into the streets, so as to illustrate their reality, not the temporary and politically expedient clean-up project, which will again only present itself before the next election. While the guests of the Freedom Day celebrations are sipping on bottled water, the people of this province are often left without even the basics.

Ramaphosa’s speech is out of touch with the lived experience of the people of Makhanda and South Africa in general. He paid lip-service to our hard-earned freedom when he did not address the real issues facing our people. With 10 million unemployed South Africans, it is impossible to for anyone to enjoy freedom without a job that affords one dignity.

The DA will continue fight for the freedom of all South Africans. We will fight to put a job in every home, and transform communities like Makhanda into places of pride for all. It is only the DA that has a plan and vision for the future.

On 8 May, the people of South have two choices – more corruption or more jobs.